Tofu Chocolate Chip Cookies or Energy Bar?

February 18, 2008 | Chuck
Tofu Chocolate Chip Cookies

The first time I was offered a tofu chocolate chip cookie, I made a funny face, probably the same look that some of you are giving me right now. With a little hesitation, I took a bite and much to my surprise, the tofu cookie was really good. Ever since then, I've always looked forward to eating the cookies made by our friend, Jeanne. In fact, I like them so much, I've made football game bets with Jeanne, pitting her tofu cookies against my chewy chocolate chunk cookies.

The recipe was created by Jeanne's friend, a certified nutritionist, who wanted to make a healthy alternative to traditional chocolate chip cookies. Butter is not used in the recipe and is replaced with peanut butter and cream cheese. In addition to the soy protein from the tofu, the cookies are made with high-protein egg whites and the aforementioned peanut butter. Lower glycemic index (GI) oat flour is used instead of all-purpose flour. The oat flour is also higher in protein and is gluten-free.

We made the tofu cookies for the first time last week and used white whole wheat flour instead of oat flour, which we couldn't find at the local supermarkets. We thought about using all-purpose flour, but decided to stay true to the healthy intent of the recipe and went with the whole wheat. The tofu cookies were good with predominant flavors from the whole wheat, peanut butter and Valrhona 61% chocolate chunks. I don't think anyone would be able to tell that the cookies contained tofu.

There are definite differences between the oat and wheat flour cookies. I prefer the taste of the oat flour cookies, but I like the texture and crumb of the whole wheat cookies. Since oat flour doesn't contain gluten, it doesn't rise and the cookies are a little more dense. The next time we make the cookies, I'm going to try a 50/50 mix of oat and whole wheat flour.

After eating the tofu cookies for the last few days, Hungry Bear and I decided that the cookies would be a great energy bar alternative. They are relatively low in sugar, a good source of low GI carbs and contain a decent amount of protein. And since they are homemade, you know exactly what's in them and they contain no preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, palm kernel oil or other questionable ingredients. On a long bike ride, I would definitely prefer eating a chocolate tofu cookie over a Cliff bar or Powerbar.

Don't hold me to these exact numbers, but I calculated the nutritional value of the tofu cookies compared to some of my favorite chocolate energy bars and regular chocolate chip cookies. The serving size of the Cliff energy bars are 68 grams, the Balance bar is 50 grams, and the chocolate chip cookie is 55 grams. For comparison sake, I used 68 grams, about 1.5 cookies, as the serving size for the tofu cookies.

Tofu Cookie and Energy Bar Nutritional Comparison

Energy Bar

Cal

Cal (fat)

Fat (gm)

Protein (gm)

Carbs (gm)

Sodium (mg)

Fiber (gm)

Cholesterol (mg)

Tofu Cookie (oat)

179

53

6

5

28

144

2

5

Tofu Cookie (wheat)

175

44

5

5

28

136

2

4

Cliff Bar

240

40

4.5

10

45

150

5

0

Cliff Builder's Bar

270

70

8

20

30

230

4

0

Balance Bar

210

60

6

14

23

130

1

0

Chocolate Chip Cookie

242

100

11

2.5

35

111

1

43

The tofu cookies have less protein than the protein powder/isolate stuffed energy bars, but they also have less calories for a 68 gram serving size, which means you can eat more cookies!

I don't think tofu chocolate chip cookies will ever replace my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, but they are a good healthier alternative. Compared to processed energy bars, the tofu cookies are superior in taste and natural nutrition. The next time you are on a long bike ride or need a post workout boost of energy, grab a few homemade tofu chocolate chip cookies instead of that processed bar.

Tofu Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tofu Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

SND Note: Oat flour contains no gluten and will not rise when baked. If you want some crumb to your cookies, mix the oat flour with some white whole wheat flour. If you don't like the taste of oat or wheat flour, use all-purpose flour instead, but you are giving up some nutritional value.

Ingredients:
7 ounces soft tofu (1/2 a square), roughly chopped
1/3 cup (3 ounces) cream cheese
1/3 cup (3 ounces) natural or organic salted, creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
A touch of almond extract (optional)
2 1/2 cups oat flour or white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup semolina flour or cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
8-10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips/chunks

Directions:
1) Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 375°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.

2) Whisk the flour, semolina and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.

3) With an electric mixer, mix the tofu until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add cream cheese and peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended. Add the sugars; mix until combined, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the egg whites and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at a low speed just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips to taste. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

4) Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at the base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough's uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 1 1/2 inches apart.

5) Bake the cookies until light golden brown 13 to 16 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a wide metal spatula.

Makes 28-30 cookies

Updated February 27, 2008: I added the nutritional breakdown for my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe to the chart.

[tags]tofu, chocolate, chocolate chips, peanut butter, cookies, bittersweet, semisweet[/tags]

29 Comments on “Tofu Chocolate Chip Cookies or Energy Bar?”

  1. JEP said:

    What an amazing sounding recipe! I admit, I really am not a tofu kind of person, but I do want to try this recipe. I appreciate your suggested ways to tweak the recipe to one’s preferences–your oat & ww combination would work for me. btw, thanks for going the extra step to provide the nutritional breakdown. Fantastic photos!

  2. Sounds like a great cookie, especially if you have certain dietary concerns. They look wonderful!

  3. When I read the title of the post I also made a funny face. Although I go for tofu quite often, somehow I could not imagine how one can make a cookie out of it. But it appears that it’s possible. Very good looking cookies. I will definitely try them myself.

  4. Erin said:

    I definitely made a face when I saw the title of this recipe, but the cookies look awesome.

    I may try to do a little switcheroo with people and see if they notice a difference.

  5. chris said:

    I used to make oat flour by taking a handful of oats and running them through a blender. I also would replace up to 1/3 of the flour in recipes with oat flour. I would store it in the freezer. Pretty handy generally.

  6. Chuck said:

    JEP, thanks JEP. The nutritional info was a pain in the butt to calculate. I’m glad I don’t have to do it on a regular basis.

    Susan, it’s definitely a good recipe for folks with dietary restrictions.

    Joanna, give it a try and let me know what you think. It’s different from a normal chocolate chip cookie, but it still has good flavors.

    Erin, as good as the tofu cookies are. I think people will be able to tell the difference. The texture is just different from a normal cookie.

    Chris, thanks for the tip. I read about making oat flour by grinding oats after we made the cookies. It seems pretty obvious now.

  7. kathryn said:

    I am SOOOOOO making these tonight for my husbands aunts birthday party tomorrow! I LOVE springing deceptively healthy foods on them. thanks!!

  8. Christine said:

    Chuck – I’m curious as to how these compare to regular choc chip cookies…do they have less calories/fat? I also wonder if soy flour could be used instead of the oat flour/wheat flour. I find these alternative flours at our local food coop but I haven’t used them much. This recipe does sound interesting — and they do look good :)

  9. Tien said:

    Hi, Chuck,
    I have enjoyed your website so much. I am just starting to get my recipes on the web. If you get a chance, please try this chocolate chip cookie.

    http://cookingwithtien.blogspo.....okies.html

    Thanks,
    Tien

  10. I’ve been searching for a good cookie or muffin recipe with tofu. These CCCs are just what I’m looking for!

  11. Chuck said:

    Kathryn, did you ever make the cookies? If so, how did they turn out?

    Christine, these cookies have half the fat, less calories and more protein than regular chocolate chip cookies. I think using soy flour will be similar to using oat flour, since they are both gluten free. If you want any type of crumb, you’ll need to mix it with all-purpose or wheat flour. And you’ll also need to reduce the baking temp or time, since soy flour tends to brown more quickly. I like the idea of soy flour for the extra protein. I may have to try it out.

  12. Tracie said:

    Hey Chuck! I made these cookies for Eric tonight. While they’re not bad, I really do miss the taste of real butter in my cookies. I’m sure my arteries are thanking me for not using the real butter. I used whole wheat flour and roasted unsalted peanut butter. In retrospect, I should have added a wee bit of salt since that always brings out the flavor of baked goods.

  13. Chuck said:

    Hey Tracie, yeah a sprinkle of salt is good if you are using unsalted peanut butter. Try the cookies out with oat flour, I think they taste better with oat flour, but you’ll lose the crumb. Wheat flour has a pretty strong taste that dominates the cookie. The tofu cookies will never replace a trusted CCC recipe with butter, but they’re a healthy alternative. I like eating the tofu cookies for breakfast!

  14. Chou said:

    Interesting idea. I have a friend who’s been working on energy bars for her MS thesis and of the many things I’ve tasted I think your option would be my favorite. Cheers!

  15. mike said:

    Sounds attractive. I’m totally agree with you.

  16. Kelly said:

    I just made these yesterday and am still not quite sure how to describe them. I made mine with 100% oat flour (made from pulverizing rolled oats in my food processor) and used extra tofu in place of the cream cheese. When I first ate one I didn’t think I liked it, I think because I was naively expecting it to taste like a crunchy/chewy regular chocolate chip cookie. Once I got over the fact that this was a different texture I really liked them. What’s interesting is that they are really filling from the oats, but not heavy. I’m definitely going to continue experimenting with this recipe. I think these would be great with some mashed ripe banana in them as well. Thanks!

  17. Adriana said:

    I just made a batch of the tofu choc chip cookies and they are delicious! They aren’t exactly like traditional choc chip but i still love them! I can’t wait to have all of my friends try them! Thanks for the recipe! :)

  18. kay said:

    Just made these cookies (using mostly whole wheat pastry flour, and a little ground up oatmeal & sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter) and they are surprisingly pretty good. I’ve given them to a few people to try, and later told them what was in it, and they liked it. Not the best chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever eaten, but love the fact that it has more protein and less fat.

  19. Pat said:

    Hi, I like the sound of this recipe. I’ve been searching for tofu cookie recipes for a while now.
    Do you think substituting Splenda for the white sugar will hurt? I really want to do something to cut the calories.

  20. axux said:

    i’m concerned with the texture, the last photo seems to look like the cookie is a bit spongy. well can’t beat the healthy aspect of the ingredients though

  21. alana said:

    oat actually does contain gluten

  22. Helen said:

    Im a vegetarian so tofu is not big deal for me though funny thing is I had these cookies before I became one. I adore them and cant wait to try to make them myself :)

  23. Feezy said:

    I made these with half all purpose and half wheat flour and added a handful of walnuts, tbsp of cocoa powder and ground whole wheat oats with almonds in the mix. My new favorite cookie. Seems to have alot more heartiness to them then any other cookie i have ever had. Not like a sugar puck. I am not a vegan tho i try to revolve my diet around one. And this is just one of the many delicious dishes vegans have in the recipe book.

  24. Margaret said:

    hey im really interested in making these but was wondering how many cookies can be made from the recipe? I would like to make atleast 25 cookies, can you help me out?

  25. Vicki Reardon said:

    These are the most wonderful and frequently admired cookies I have prepared. I usually have enough tofu and peanut butter left to cut out the cream cheese and actually prefer a special dark chocolate chip. And, yes, I would consider them more along the lines of an energy bar– they definitely stick with you but don’t weigh you down. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  26. Blythe said:

    I was wondering if I could omit the PB. My kids are the crazy kids who actually don’t like PB.

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